Before I start, I want to add whoever defaced the party endorsed candidates’ signs, crossing Marcus Griffith and Maureen Walker’s names out in red spray paint, that was some real punk smooth shit. If you or the candidate you support can’t win without resorting to such immature behavior you do not deserve to sit in any elected seat. Shows you do not have the testicular fortitude to face these candidates or the strength to stand up against them without resorting to ignorant shenanigans. It’s that type of dirty politics that have plagued this city for decades and it get worst each election. The residents are tired of it and want no part of it. That said I do agree Marcus has to go, but that is not the way to go about it.
So when a candidate is coming up for re-election one of the most important things to consider is what has he or she done to deserve re-election? To serve the city is a privilege, not a birthright, it’s a right you must earn. Once elected if you do not do what in the best interest of the people who you serve, then you should lose that right. I asked a few taxpayers and citizens of Mount Vernon their thoughts on the candidates and one thing was clear, a portion of the residents of the City of Mount Vernon feel Marcus should not be re-elected. Several didn’t want to be quoted for the story but told me, “He Must Go,” off the record. Three residents, however, did voice their opinion and wanted to be quoted. One woman from the Fleetwood side of town feels we deserve better.
“As citizens and taxpayers of Mount Vernon, we deserve a City Council that is responsive to the people who elect them,” Barbara De George shares with BW. “This has not been the case and Marcus is a part of that old paradigm. Anyone who does not LISTEN and respect the views of the community needs to GO!”
For anyone who was walking around singing choruses of “Ernie Must Go,” in 2015, like Barbara said, Marcus is a part of that old paradigm. That’s enough said to that group of Mount Vernonites.
Here are a few other reasons why Marcus Must Go
- Marcus was the main obstructionist against the funding to finishing the comprehensive development plan. Councilman Wallace and Councilman Edwards were trying to push the money through to finish the plan. Marcus has been blocking the process to make Mayor Thomas look bad. For that matter, not saying Mayor Thomas didn’t burn a few bridges with his fellow council members when he was on the council. But Marcus who once told me, “if Richard Thomas wins I will sell my house and move out of Mount Vernon,” well I checked the MLS and as of today, his house wasn’t on there, Marcus this is not the way to handle things. Marcus was one of the main forces working to not let Mayor Thomas have what he needed. Mayor Thomas did make it easy to justify by skipping a few steps, a few times and not following procedures, but Marcus as Council president and a member of the Board of Estimates in 2016 voted against almost everything the mayor was trying to put through.
- The Residency Requirement Case. One of the many reasons for the loss in the residency requirement case was the council didn’t apply it to everyone across the board because Marcus fought against included everybody making it look like it was targeted (see judges ruling).
- Councilman Griffith fought against Term Limits, which limits the time you can serve and makes room for others who are interested in serving our city. Why were you so adamantly against Term limits?
- The Zombie House Hearings. The Council exercised their power to call a hearing to investigate the tearing down of 136 Park Avenue. When key members of the Thomas administration ignored the council subpoenas, as Council President you failed to see it all the way through. We need someone in that seat who will not start a fight and not finish it. We need someone who will go all out when it comes to defending the charter and the residents of Mount Vernon.
- Your involvement with Adolfo Carrion Jr. in the proposed building of 249 units of available housing on 3rd street with Mastermind which leads to questions of all the donations you have received from developers this year (We have read your financial reports).
- Intentionally underfunding the Law Department causing the city to spend $100,000’s maybe millions when it’s all said and done, to hire outside counsel.
- Your involvement in trying to block your fellow Councilman’s effort for legislation on parking. Business owners informed BW that you told them Councilman Wallace is trying to hurt their business with this new legislation. We need our leaders to lead and not prevent others from doing what is best for the city because it does not fit your agenda.
- Marcus Griffith traveled to Korea with Terrance Horton and others and then voted for Terrance Horton to get the contract which his was both illegal and unethical, he should have recused himself, but he voted for Horton and the City is still fighting the contract. A homeowner who was also paying attention had his suspicions and asked that very question at the April 22, 2015, City Council meeting was told by the former Council President, he was an embarrassment to the city. Saying if that homeowner didn’t like how it is in Mount Vernon, he could sell his house and leave. You work for residents, not the other way around, and this is how you talk to a home owner and taxpayer, who taxes pay your salary?
Marcus Griffith Tells Homeowner To Sell His House
“It’s Marcus Griffith’s time to go. He’s not too interested in serving the people of the city, based on my observations at various City Council meetings, and only is “in it” for his own personal interest, especially for whatever “extra financial gain” he may receive. I do remember the time more than two years ago, when I spoke at a Council meeting about a few of the issues in Mount Vernon that are reasons why this city has a negative image, Marcus told me I was an embarrassment to the city for even mentioning such things, and I should sell my house and move someplace else. That comment from him distinctly showed me that he is one to ignore the many problems in the city and rather than address them and find ways to eliminate them, he’d prefer to eliminate the taxpaying residents who are being financially harmed” – Bill Capello
(Listen to Mr. Capello’s questions to Council and then Councilman Marcus A. Griffith’s response below)
Again this is not personal or an attack on you as a person. I like you as a person and have had many long conversations with you. You honored me with an award for my work at a recent City Council meeting, even if it was reluctantly and only because your lawyer and a group of white residents at a Fleetwood Citizens Society meeting gave me props for the work I do with BW. Your mouth almost dropped when you saw the room of mostly white people speak in favor or me and Black Westchester and stood up and gave me a standing ovation. Nevertheless, you did honor me, and while I appreciate that, my responsibility is to put the people before the politics. This is about speaking on what I believe is best for the city and at this point you are not it.
Your meltdown at the All-Island candidate forum just the other day, where you attacked your own running mates was just one more example why it’s time you move on from the City Council. Another example of why you might have been a major component and reason for the never-ending Civil War in City Hall, we have had since January 2016. Maybe it’s time to go and make room for someone who wants to be there for the people, not chastise them and question their intelligence.
Now I urge voters to come out and vote, but do not take your vote lightly. This is a very important election and since I been asked the question about who to vote for, who am I supporting, BW is not endorsing anyone as that is not our practice. But I can tell you who I think is not a good look for the future of our city. Whoever thought me and Mayor Thomas would agree on something these days?
I end this editorial with the words of another tax paying resident from Fleetwood who had a few words to say on why people should not re-elect you.
“I find that Marcus does not give the citizens of Mount Vernon any credit. The city needs to bring jobs to the city which would mean to entice businesses to come. Marcus always comments that businesses will not come to Mount Vernon. I disagree with his comment. Instead of having residential development of low-income housing the city should promote business to come. Another peeve I have is Marcus always stated the citizens don’t understand city policies. How can we where there is no transparency and that the city council always changes policy? Also, the pilots given to developers increase our property taxes. Mount Vernon is a great city. Stop giving away the store!” – Mary Grace Coletti.
This is not to say Marcus hasn’t done some good, but that it may be time for the city to move in another direction. Just be cautious, change for the sake of change isn’t always good. Do your homework so you can make an informed decision. This is my opinion, which has been requested by the readers. Real Talk!
Everyone get out Tuesday and Vote!
AJ is a Father, Author, Writer, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
You can also hear AJ every Thursday morning at 7:20 A.M. on Good Morning Westchester with host Bob Marrone on WVOX